Al-Qaeda #2 in Yemen, former Gitmo inmate, killed in air strike
Glad we were able to reform this terrorist before we let him go. Oh, wait...
An airstrike killed al-Qaida's No. 2 leader in Yemen along with six others traveling with him in one car on Monday, U.S. and Yemeni officials said, a major breakthrough for U.S.-backed efforts to cripple the group in the impoverished Arab nation.
Saeed al-Shihri, a Saudi national who fought in Afghanistan and spent six years in the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, was killed by a missile after leaving a house in the southern province of Hadramawt, according to Yemeni military officials. They said the missile was believed to have been fired by a U.S.-operated, unmanned drone aircraft.
Two senior U.S. officials confirmed al-Shihri's death but could not confirm any U.S. involvement in the airstrike. The U.S. doesn't usually comment on such attacks although it has used drones in the past to go after al-Qaida members in Yemen, which is considered a crucial battleground with the terror network.
Yemeni military officials said that a local forensics team had identified al-Shihri's body with the help of U.S. forensics experts on the ground. The U.S. and Yemeni military officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to release the information to the media.
After leaving Guantanamo in 2007, al-Shihri, who is believed to be in his late 30s, went through Saudi Arabia's famous "rehabilitation" institutes, an indoctrination program that is designed to replace what authorities in Saudi Arabia see as militant ideology with religious moderation.
But he headed south to Yemen upon release and became deputy to Nasser al-Wahishi, the leader of Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Wahishi is a Yemeni who once served as Osama bin Laden's personal aide in Afghanistan.
Thanks to Saudi Arabia for taking care of this fellow. Or not. And why is their rehab program "famous?" It doesn't appear to work very often given some high profile "relapses" that have occurred. To believe you can reform a bloodthirsty jihadist is insane. It's like releasing a serial killer after a few months in prison and declaring him rehabilitated.
Yemen is on the front lines of the war against jihadists. And since it appears to be a failed state, we will be there for a very long time trying to keep AQAP down.